What does partnering with parents actually look like?

What does partnering with parents actually look like?

Thursday, 24 May 2018  | Narelle - MECS Principal

During the last week I had the privilege of attending the Christian Education National (CEN) AGM and National Conference, as well as the AGM for AACS, the Australian Association for Christian Schools, which is our political advocacy body. We were reminded at these gatherings of the important distinctives of Christian schools, one being the choice of parents to partner with a school of their choice that will best support them in the nurture and education of their children.

Tonight, the Association of Christian Education Mount Evelyn Inc., will come together for our AGM. We also will celebrate the things that make our school unique and thank God for his faithfulness in our 45th year; forty-five years of partnering with parents who desire that their children to be educated in an environment that seeks to honour Him in all things.

Ken, the previous CEO of CEN published a great summary of what this partnership in Christian schools looks like in the March 2016 edition of Nurture. We provide a copy of this magazine four times a year to every family in the school to assist you in your task of parenting. Here is a summary of Ken’s ideas:

‘What does partnering with parents actually look like?’

1. Why do we highlight parents?

We believe the Bible holds parents responsible for the Godly upbringing of their children. This upbringing is not to be outsourced to others, especially not to those who are not interested in godliness. For some parents this responsibility means they will provide all their child’s education. Yet even in home schooling the expertise and gifting of others is often sought. For other Christian parents this use of others’ gifts is formalised in the establishment of a community of other parents who form a ‘school’.

2. Who is in the partnership?

In a Christian school community parents do not just partner with other parents and their families. Rather they partner with other Christian communities. These include other Christian schools and the churches represented by parents. This is often the most visible demonstration of Christian unity. Christian Education National (CEN) schools form a powerful partnership between like-minded school communities.

Parents also partner with teachers and staff who are employed to serve parents with their training and qualifications. The vision is for them to assist parents in what God has called them to do. Staff members carry out their service as employees and members of the community. They are not contracted by parents but are in a covenant community with parents! This is one reason why it is essential every staff member of our schools be a committed, growing Christian.

3. What is the partnership for?

The partnership is to do something radical. It is to educate children in the light of the good news about Jesus. Gospel education looks at the world and disciplines of knowledge through the lens of the Lordship of Jesus over ‘all things’ (Colossians 1). This is an alternate worldview to the one currently pervading education and schooling. We are not just educating our children so they can eventually make a living. Instead we educate so they can do living to the full (John 10:10).

Our schools may not be totally different from others governed by different worldviews. We all live in the same world ruled by a loving God whether acknowledged or not. God’s truth is uncovered by all sorts of people and good insights into education come from many sources. All children in all schools will be studying the same creation (it’s the only one we have). Yet there will be a radical difference in the way we view this creation; in the purpose for life; in motivation for learning; and in how we use our learning.

4. How do we build a community of partnership?

Seeing parents as members of a covenant community, rather than as clients, should be our goal. The normal client expectations need to be turned upside down. A client asks ‘what’s in it for me and mine?’ the member of a covenant community asks ‘what’s in it for God and His people?’

A Christian learning community seeks first the Kingdom of God in education. Jesus says the other things that we are concerned about will be taken care of. As we seek God’s Kingdom, together in community, we care for the needs of all members. This especially means we diligently and faithfully care for the education needs of all children within the most conducive learning environment.”

I look forward to seeing our Association members, and any other interested parents, at the AGM tonight!


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